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From the College of Natural Sciences
To Protect Nature’s Benefits, Researchers Recommend More Focus on People

To Protect Nature’s Benefits, Researchers Recommend More Focus on People

People benefit from ecosystems in different ways; new research focuses on understanding that diversity to protect nature’s benefits.

​To calculate the true value of a forest, we need to know how people benefit from it, according to new research published in Nature Sustainability. A healthy forest holds a treasure trove of benefits for people — it can filter water for downstream communities, supply timber for building, and provide a place for people to connect with nature. But a forest — or any other ecosystem — won't necessarily provide the same things to everyone.

Navigating Friendships and Relationships During the Pandemic

Navigating Friendships and Relationships During the Pandemic

No one expected how personal and uncomfortable the fallout of the pandemic would become in every aspect of our lives.

Perhaps today, going to a restaurant with your best friend makes you feel unsafe.

Perhaps your parents would prefer to connect on video chat rather than have you come over.

Or perhaps you and your roommates now need to agree on house rules about grocery shopping and mask wearing.

Predictive Science Research Gets Major Boost Thanks to the Department of Energy

Predictive Science Research Gets Major Boost Thanks to the Department of Energy

Predictive science is crucial to the prediction and modeling of extreme weather. This is a visualization of predicted storm surge on the Louisiana coast caused by Hurricane Laura, the Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that struck Texan shores earlier this year. Credit: Computational Hydraulics Group, Oden Institute.

Many of the decisions we make are now guided by computational simulations, from designing new spacecraft to predicting the spread of a pandemic. But it's not enough for a simulation model to just issue predictions. A decision-maker needs to know just how much those predictions can be trusted.

NSF-Funded Project Aims to Squeeze Larger Simulations onto Quantum Computers

NSF-Funded Project Aims to Squeeze Larger Simulations onto Quantum Computers

A trapped ion quantum computing system developed by Honeywell Quantum Solutions. Photo credit: Honeywell Quantum Solutions.

Quantum computers might someday make it possible to run simulations that are far too complex for conventional computers, enabling them for example to precisely model chemical reactions or the movement of electrons in materials, yielding better products from drugs to fertilizers to solar cells. Yet at the current pace of development, quantum computers powerful enough for these simulations may still be many years away.

Two Pesticides Approved for Use in U.S. Found to Harm Bees

Two Pesticides Approved for Use in U.S. Found to Harm Bees

A previously banned insecticide, which was approved for agricultural use last year in the United States, is harmful for bees and other beneficial insects that are crucial for agriculture, and a second pesticide in widespread use also harms these insects. That is according to a new analysis from researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

New Grant Enables Creation of Polymer-Based Data Storage System

New Grant Enables Creation of Polymer-Based Data Storage System

Imagine a new type of security system that, rather than storing data or an encryption key on a USB drive, encodes information into a small piece of plastic that can be unlocked only via a chemical reaction using a specific type of substance. And the devices that can read this information think like human brains and have the ability to communicate seamlessly with today's electronics.

3D Printing with Visible Light Gets a Speed Boost

3D Printing with Visible Light Gets a Speed Boost

3D printed objects made (from left) with blue, green and red light. Photo courtesy Lynn Stevens.

A team of University of Texas at Austin researchers led by chemistry assistant professor Zachariah Page demonstrated a fast and precise way to 3D print using visible light.

UT Center Paves the Way on ‘Future of Aging’ Research

UT Center Paves the Way on ‘Future of Aging’ Research

The Center on Aging and Population Sciences is now accepting proposals for 2021 pilot studies. Deadline to submit is January 22.
As populations age, they carry their weight of experiences, both good and bad — but collectively powerful in setting the pace of aging.
Why Some Cancers May Respond Poorly to Key Drugs Discovered

Why Some Cancers May Respond Poorly to Key Drugs Discovered

Patients with BRCA1/2 mutations are at higher risk for breast, ovarian and prostate cancers that can be aggressive when they develop – and, in many cases, resistant to lifesaving drugs. Now scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Ajou University in South Korea have identified a driver of the drug resistance that can make a life or death difference for patients with these cancers.

Major NSF Grant Accelerates Development for the Giant Magellan Telescope

Major NSF Grant Accelerates Development for the Giant Magellan Telescope

The GMTO Corporation has received a $17.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to accelerate the prototyping and testing of some of the most powerful optical and infrared technologies ever engineered. These crucial advancements for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), of which The University of Texas at Austin is a founding partner, will allow astronomers to see farther into space with more detail than any other optical telescope before.